US egg production continues to fall
After rising on a year-over-year basis in all four quarters of 2006, total egg production fell in five of the last six quarters comprising all of 2007 and the first two quarters of 2008.
In the first half of 2008, production of table eggs for consumption was 3.17 billion dozen, down slightly from first-half 2007.
This decline was partially offset by a small increase in hatching egg production to 559 million dozen.
The increase in the production of hatching eggs occurred in the first quarter as broiler integrators were still expanding production in response to higher prices and a strong export market.
Table egg production is forecast to be slightly higher in the second half of 2008, compared with last year, but to remain below the level of production seen in second-half 2006.
Although higher feed and energy prices have raised producer costs, prices in the first quarter of 2008 have given producers some incentive to increase production.
The decreased production of table eggs resulted in sharply higher prices for eggs during the first quarter of 2008.
In the second quarter of 2008, wholesale egg prices in the New York market averaged US$1.17 per dozen, 27 percent higher than in second-quarter 2007, but down considerably from first-quarter 2008.
Prices fell below a dollar per dozen in July, but by August rebounded to approximately US$1.10 per dozen.
Wholesale egg prices in the New York market in third-quarter 2008 are expected to be approximately the same as last year, while prices in fourth-quarter 2008 are expected to average somewhat lower than last year.